The Tim&Micah Project: Selection
nytheatre.com review by David Vining
August 20, 2010
the tim&micah project is really funny stuff. Tim Soszko and Micah Philbrook hail from Chicago, land of improv and sketch comedy giants, and they do their brethren proud. It is a simple show. Two comedians in black turtlenecks and slacks do some very well-rehearsed sketches and link them together with some fun, tight transitions.
As they point out, the transitions are one of the things that make their sketch comedy special. And that's true, but just as true is that the meta-comedy moment they take to point out that it's the transitions that set their show apart, also sets it apart. In personality the show is a quirky blend of cockiness and nebbishy dysfunction. The effect is more charming than it sounds.
There are lots of little touches and details in their work that make it extra satisfying. Whether it's a ridiculous bit of competitive choreography done while sporting ridiculous fake moustaches, or the fact that those moustaches are virtually the only props the duo use in the whole show, or the meticulous improv-style mime work that makes props completely unnecessary, it's the details that sell the punchlines throughout thetim+micah project. There are commercials, duels, some extremely goofy dancing, and one extremely slow burning gag involving a bag of donuts, and pretty much everything works.
Much of the show is done as a sort of tag-team synchronized comedy routine with one performer jumping in to finish the other's sentence, or unison recitations requiring perfect timing. The pair have a sense of give and take that only comes from a lot of trust or a lot of rehearsal. I'm guessing it's a little bit of both.
The sound in the show also bears notice. Everything is done with the human voice, whether it's the two performers laughing giddily or pretending to be fish or the delightful prerecorded a cappella songs and silly sound effects, the cohesion of the show is aided immensely by this well-thought-out and -executed element.
The show also incorporates audience participation in a way that makes this not only more bearable (it's not my favorite thing, honestly) but funny and endearing. Never is anyone put in a position to actually have to contribute to the comedy, they only have to play their part and do what is scripted already. This comes full circle in an ending that is not only totally unexpected, but will leave you asking yourself what exactly happened.
I found it interesting just how precise everything was in the tim&micah project because it was obvious that both Tim and Micah come from an improv background. The show plays out like one that incorporates improv (and perhaps it did in its creation) but because of the synchronization of so many of the elements (and their repeatability, as shown at least once during the show) we know that it is carefully scripted. Seeing the one style used to create another is fascinating, and needless to say, very funny.
If you like sketch comedy then definitely see the tim&micah project while they are in town. And if you only sort of like sketch comedy, you will still almost certainly enjoy this inventive, playful, and very well put together show.